Letting your car warm up before driving off on a cold winter's morning is a common practice even if it's sometimes frowned upon. So you can imagine the frustration for many 2023 Honda HR-V owners who found their rear windows spontaneously shattering after activating the window defroster.
There are currently hundreds of such reports from HR-V owners, but it was Consumer Reports who brought the issue to national attention when the rear window of their HR-V test car shattered in one of its editors' driveways.
Honda claims that the issue is a manufacturing defect, in which the rear defroster's heating element contacts part of the rear glass sealer.
“American Honda has received a limited number of reports of rear-hatch glass breaking on 2023 Honda HR-V vehicles associated with rear defroster use. Our investigation has revealed that during the assembly process for some vehicles, the sealer used to secure the rear glass may come into contact with the heating elements of the defroster, leading to a hot spot and weakening of the glass over time as the defroster is used," Honda said in a statement to The Drive.
However, a formal recall hasn't been issued. "Honda will be initiating a voluntary product update campaign related to this issue and is working to secure the needed replacement parts as soon as possible. We estimate that this campaign will begin in April or May 2024."
In the meantime, Honda is only asking that customers with spontaneous rear glass breakage visit their Honda dealer for a free replacement. However, Honda told The Drive that, once the product update campaign is underway, dealers will inspect any HR-V customer's rear glass and replace any defective ones free of charge.
According to the customer complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the shattering glass is usually accompanied by a sudden loud bang. Not only is that startling if it happens while driving, but it could potentially be dangerous. While the glass is designed to break into small pieces, rather than large sharp chunks, it can still send bits of glass onto rear passengers or the road, for other cars to run over. Never mind scaring the living hell out of the driver while at potentially high speed.
Honda's lack of immediate action could be concerning to current HR-V owners, as they have to wait until April at the earliest to know if their car's rear window is defective. Hopefully, Honda can provide some clarity to customers sooner than April, as two winter months is a long time to drive while worrying about your rear window potentially shattering at any time.
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